Tackling the climate crisis

On World Environment Day, we look at the ways in which Buro Happold is confronting climate change head on

Our world is facing a climate crisis. Glaciers are melting, ice sheets are retreating, sea levels are rising and our planet is getting hotter every year. These changes are being driven by increasing levels of CO2 and other man-made emissions in our atmosphere, and the rate at which they are accelerating the rate of global warming is truly terrifying. Most has happened in the last 35 years, with the five warmest years on record occurring since 2010.

Here at Buro Happold, we are rising to the challenges posed by climate change in a bid to protect our planet. We are well known as a practice whose ethos is founded on sustainable design principles, and we also appreciate that change comes from within. That’s why we are looking at every aspect of our business – from the epic to the everyday – to see how we can tackle the climate crisis.

Buro Happold vs air pollution

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is Beat Air Pollution – a subject very close to Buro Happold’s heart. Eighty percent of people living in cities are exposed to unsafe air quality, and there are 7 million premature deaths across the world each year as a direct result of poor air quality. These statistics are unacceptable, and that is why we are working with 96 of the world’s greatest cities to develop and implement ambitious plans to address greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution simultaneously. United in the common goal to clean up our world, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is pulling together to Beat Air Pollution.

Buro Happold vs plastic

We’re waging war on plastic. Specifically, single use plastic. On 1 May 2019 we announced that we were going to stop purchasing avoidable single use plastic consumables across our offices, as part of our wider pledge to reduce office waste and minimise the amount we send to landfill. We removed plastic cutlery from our in-house cafes, provided cut price water bottles for employees in place of single-use cups, stocked soft drinks and water in cans instead of plastic bottles, and swapped plastic salad boxes for plant-based alternatives that are sustainable and compostable.

Image: Buro Happold

Buro Happold vs litter

Eco-conscious employees from our Bath office can often be seen plogging the streets of their fair city. A hybrid of jogging and litter picking, plogging is good for the environment, mind and body – burning up to 10% more calories than jogging alone. Teams spend their lunchtime plogging the streets and parks of Bath, picking up litter and making the UNESCO World Heritage Site a better place to be all round.

Image: Buro Happold

Buro Happold vs uninspiring offices

Our Los Angeles office achieved WELL Certified™ Gold status with a plethora of exceptional features that boost workplace wellbeing. Plumbing features in the kitchen and showers produce filtered water free of organic and inorganic contaminants, potted fruit trees and gardens on the balconies connect employees to nature, and air-quality sensors ensure the internal environment is free from fine dust and harmful chemicals. In addition, all employees are offered standing desk options, a weekly yoga class, and access to DeskCycles – so they can undertake light exercise while they work.

Image: Iwan Baan

Buro Happold vs fossil fuels

Burning fossil fuels for electricity and heat account for 30.6% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Resources Institute. We’re tackling this big issue on some of our most prestigious projects. From realising the world’s tallest residential passive house building at Cornell Tech, to delivering low energy design in the desert for Louvre, Abu Dhabi, to masterplanning a sustainable, future-focused smart city district at Tun Razak Exchange – we’re leading from the front when it comes to confronting the climate change crisis.

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